How to work well with your virtual assistant
1. Prioritise communication early on
Communication is important at any stage of a working relationship, but it’s especially crucial during those early days. It’s going to take a bit of time for your new VA to get to know you, your business, and your working style. The more time you invest at the beginning to get them up to speed, the easier things will be for both of you in the long run. Once you’ve established strong foundations, you’ll find it easier to keep things flowing throughout your time together.
2. Define your communication channels
Everyone works differently, and if you’re using an experienced VA they’ll understand this. Some clients prefer to email tasks and briefings across, whereas others like to have a video chat to discuss. If you outline your preferences and expectations from the beginning, your VA will know how and where best to reach you. It’s also a good idea to set guidelines for how often you’ll catch up. Do you want regular progress updates? If so, in what format?
3. Write detailed briefs
When you just want to hand something off quickly so you can move on to the next thing, it can be tempting to rush the brief. It may seem counterintuitive, but the more time you spend briefing upfront, the more time you’ll actually save. Imagine you spend 10 minutes delivering a detailed brief, for example, and then your VA goes away and does a perfect job. The task itself might have taken you an hour, so you’re still up on time. If you’d rushed the brief and only spent a minute or two giving quick instructions, the VA might have made mistakes or come back to you with questions. How much extra time would that have eaten up?
4. Manage expectations
This is an important one for both you and your virtual assistant. When you’re open and honest with your VA about what you expect, they should return the favour and come back to you with a realistic timeline or predicted outcomes. The more direct your conversations are, the better position you’ll both be in. To do this effectively, you’ll need to: Be clear Do you need something done at a certain time or on a specific day? Do you have a particular style you need them to follow? Consider your language. Does your VA understand the terminology you’re using? Agree on deadlines Make sure your VA is aware of any time restraints so they can prioritise accordingly. They’ll have other clients and commitments, so the more notice you can give, the better. Be realistic If you outsource 10 hours a week to your VA, don’t expect them to be available to you all day every day. Also, remember that they may not know your industry the way you do. There’s bound to be a bit of a learning curve. Be honest Constructive feedback will help your virtual assistant learn and improve. If you’re unhappy with something, tell them. It might be a difficult conversation, but it’ll benefit both of you in the long run.
5. Create a clear contract
No matter how good your relationship is with your virtual assistant, it’s vital that you have a contract in place. It’ll help with managing expectations, as well as protecting you both should the unexpected happen. Consider the following:
- How will data be protected and stored?
- Who owns the content your VA creates?
- Where and when will deadlines be met?
- What happens if you go over your agreed hours?
- What happens if you’re under your agreed hours?
A clear contract takes away all the uncertainty. It can feel too formal when you’re trying to establish a friendly relationship, but it’ll be out of the way in no time.
6. Put effort into building the relationship
The better your connection, the more committed your VA is likely to feel. Make an effort to involve them, share news, chat about things outside of work, and try and meet in person, even if only once. When your VA feels part of your team, they’ll take a greater interest and will be more likely to go out of their way to support you.
Struggling to find the right VA for you?
The Assistant Quarters is a team of virtual assistants and social media specialists. One of the best things about working with us is that we’re a flexible option – we each have different skills and specialisms. Call us on 0208 064 1969 or book in for a discovery call to chat about your options.
Prefer email? Ours is firstname.lastname@example.org